Issue 20072 - Q-PCD The AutoText dialog is only usable for OOo experts
Summary: Q-PCD The AutoText dialog is only usable for OOo experts
Alias: None
Product: General
Classification: Code
Component: code (show other issues)
Version: OOo 1.0.0
Hardware: Other Other OS
: P4 Trivial with 1 vote (vote)
Target Milestone: AOO Later
Assignee: AOO issues mailing list
QA Contact:
Depends on:
Reported: 2003-09-25 15:23 UTC by christian.jansen
Modified: 2013-02-07 22:17 UTC (History)
2 users (show)

See Also:
Issue Type: FEATURE
Latest Confirmation in: ---
Developer Difficulty: ---


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Description christian.jansen 2003-09-25 15:23:18 UTC
Product Requirement:
Improve the usability of the AutoText Dialog so that users get faster a good result.
Product Concept:
The usability of the AutoText dialog will be improved. One of the major problems
is to create a new AutoText. This will be simplified by introducing an AutoText
editor which is integrated into the AutoText user interface. This means user can
enter a text and apply some basic formatting to this text. Creating more complex
AutoText will be possible, like to day, by using OOo Writer. The renewed
AutoText dialog provides also an enhanced AutoText Organizer. In this organizer
it will be possible to create/delete AutoText Categories, to add/delete or
change paths. The usability of applying AutoTexts will be enhanced by providing
better structured menu entries and an own toolbar.
Comment 1 christian.jansen 2003-09-25 15:57:01 UTC
Comment 2 christian.jansen 2003-09-26 08:30:30 UTC
Additional Info:

User Experience
Customer Need/Problem
The AutoText dialog is only usable for SOOo experts.
Eng Owner
Christian Jansen
Comment 3 lutz.hoeger 2003-10-23 07:44:53 UTC
added keyword Q-PCD
Comment 4 Martin Hollmichel 2004-05-28 15:11:16 UTC
according to the announcement on releases
( this issue
will be re-targeted to OOo Later.
Comment 5 stefan.baltzer 2005-03-02 14:15:49 UTC
SBA->CJ: I would like to point out that this summary"...DIALOG only usable for
experts" is not targetting the problem as I would describe it: "A new user has a
problem to understand the use of AutoText". 

A tiny bit of "Competitive analysis": In MS Word, AutoText can also be inserted
via menu. This is very intuitive. The menu has a clear and intuitive structure
("Travel-Select-Use") while a dialog is always at least "a little" confusing
when the user sees it for the first time.

Dialogs have different controls (buttons, checkboxes, listboxes, radio buttons,
preview windows,...) that leave new users uncertain about "what will happen if I
try", especially if they already experienced that a dialogs layout can change
massively after using one of them! (Try Insert-Index-Index, use of the listbox
"Type" - This discourages the use of unknown dialogs. 

In contrary, a new user always can feel "safe" while travelling through unknown
menus in order to "just look" for something. 

Finding the AutoText entries themselves in the (sub-sub menu of the) "insert"
menu can raise interest in the this feature much better than the "most inviting
layout" of any "Edit-AutoText" dialog. Just my 2 cts.
Comment 6 jnoreiko 2005-06-03 13:53:18 UTC
I would say I am well-versed in using different software packages, and I found
the AutoText dialog extremely confusing. I thought it was broken at first!

I would like to help with redesigning it, but I have no C++ coding experience.
What can I do to help?
Comment 7 Joe Smith 2006-09-07 17:06:01 UTC
I completely agree with the comments above and would like to give some specific
feedback about the current implementation in the hope that any re-design will
include improvements in these areas:

1) The user is invited to lose work.

2) The edit feature is very confusing.

3) It is possible to override standard entries unintentionally.

Concerning item 1: Select some text. (That you have to know ahead of time to do
this is another problem.) Activate the AutoText dialog, type in a name and
shortcut. Now what to do? There is no obvious way to "save" anything. If the
user clicks "Close" (an obvious button and not normally a destructive action),
then the entire effort is silently canceled and lost. Worse, if the user
happened to try and define something like "DT" that's already defined, the lost
definition will now appear to work, but will give an entirely different and
unexpected result (see

Concerning item 2: Clicking on AutoText > Edit cause the dialog to disappear and
the user is thrown into a completely new document window with no explanation or
guidance. This is a very unusual pattern of interaction and very disorienting.

I realize that, by nature, editing an autotext entry may require the complete
Writer application, but at least some explanation is required. Some kind of
window embedded in the dialog would be nice, with an option to expand it to the
full window. At the very least, you could insert some boilerplate instructions
in the new document along with the autotext, then ignore that when the edited
entry is stored.

Concerning item 3: An organization may have set up standard autotext entries
that are needed. If a user defines an autotext that happens to use the same
shortcut, the standard entry will no longer work. There should at least be some
indication that a shortcut is in use or not, so that an override is a conscious,
intentional decision.
Comment 8 gleppert 2010-01-04 22:25:13 UTC
Although this issue is quite old, I second the motion that the usability of
Autotext needs to be improved. 

Creating an autotext is difficult and the autotext window is not self-explaining
(and there is no help-button either).

Inserting an autotext in the document is difficult, too. What is the meaning of
the abbreviation that can be assigned to an autotext? This is not self-explaining.

Is there something like an autotext manager for text fragments? No, but it would
make sense.